The Kloeckner Metals Tampa location has been servicing the Central Florida area for over 40 years. In that time, it has seen many changes and upgrades. Today the heavy carbon facility serves as a hub location, working with the Pompano Beach and Jacksonville locations to service customers around the state. Located within a block of the Port, the Tampa branch is a true partner with the local marine industry.
“We have two large ship repair companies that are right here on the port,” says Wayne Acosta, general manager of Kloeckner Metals Tampa. “We also have a large shipbuilder here on the port. We deal with all three of them.”
These customers require a lot of plate work. Kloeckner Tampa also works with a variety of other companies, including construction and a company that makes wind tunnels for skydiving. In total, the branch’s business is evenly split between plate and structural. The warehouse is open almost 24 hours and is able to process material with its two saws and high-definition plasma table with beveling capabilities.
“The burning machine we have has opened up a lot of doors for us,” Wayne says. “At one point all we had was the oxy burner. Now we have high definition plasma.”
Wayne describes his management philosophy in one word: “Service.” In order to be successful in this business, you need to provide the customer with the best service available. In achieving this goal, he credits his sales force, operations team, and operations manager who “runs a very tight ship.”
“That’s what separates us from the rest of our competitors,” Wayne says.
One way that the Tampa branch maintains quality service is by having an experienced staff. The sales staff has over 90 combined years of experience. Wayne himself is emblematic of this, with 37 years with Kloeckner under his belt.
“I started in January of 1980,” Wayne says. “I worked out in the warehouse for four years loading trucks on our second shift.”
Wayne went on to work in inside sales, outside sales, and as a sales manager. After many years with Kloeckner, he was given the opportunity to become general manager. Having intimate knowledge of all the different aspects of the business has given Wayne the knowledge to effectively manage his team. Wayne’s experience is typical of employees in the branch, who have also been with the company for a very long time. Chuck Fitch, for example, has been with the company for 39 years.
“You can’t do any better than having someone on the phone that has 39 years of experience with steel,” Wayne says. “We can answer customers’ questions, and they appreciate that knowledge.”
The Tampa Branch’s partnership with the other two Florida locations also helps ensure quality service. The three locations have a shuttle service set up to move inventory between them, as it is needed. This gives them an added level of flexibility and a competitive edge.
“We have a great working relationship,” Wayne says. “We’ve always looked at Florida as all three working together. Our inventory is everyone’s inventory.”
At present, the Tampa facility is beginning a big renovation project. The building is owned by the Tampa Port Authority, who leases it to Kloeckner Tampa. The Port Authority recently agreed to substantial improvements to the facility as part of a new lease agreement. Siding on the warehouse has been replaced, and parts of the roof have been repaired. The part Wayne is most excited about, however, is the upcoming remodeling of the front office.
“The sales part that we’re in, it’s probably 25 years old,” Wayne says. “It’s time for an upgrade.”
Please visit the Tampa branch page to learn more about their products and capabilities.
Steven Nghe is currently the Head of Marketing & Communications at Kloeckner Metals. Nghe is a marketing professional with more than 14 years of experience in various environments and industries. His goal is to tell you about the sexy side of steel. Nghe holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Marketing from North Carolina State University. Prior to Kloeckner, Nghe worked for Delta Dental, Wells Real Estate Funds, Georgia Institute of Technology and Doosan.